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  • Rüdiger was signed as a central defender, made his preseason debut as a left-back, and debuted in an official match… on the right.

When Real Madrid announced the signing of Antonio Rüdiger (29 years old), the image that was projected was that of that powerful center-back full of personality who acted as an extension for Thomas Tuchel on the pitch at Stamford Bridge. But Ancelotti has additional plans for the former Chelsea player. In his preseason debut against Barça, he appeared as a left-back; against America and Juventus, at the center of the rear; and in Helsinki, he debuted in an official match… as a right back. Carletto has a new guy for everything on defense.

“I’m not crazy, and he’s very smart. In that position he can play”. The one from Reggiolo thus explained his bet on the Berliner as ‘3 ′. “I don’t want to change the couple from last year,” he added. Militao and Alaba took him to build the Decimofourta in Paris and what works is not touched, he must think. The facts refute the decision: the Austrian opened the scoring against Eintracht and the Brazilian was imperial at the cut, both key in winning the Super Cup. That “you have to take into account those who won the Champions League”, slipped by Ancelotti, is a slab for the new ones. Although Rüdiger has the advantage of the multiple registers that he can interpret.

He has good handling of the ball (only Rodri and Modric gave more passes than him in the last Champions League), he is fast (last year he was the fastest in the Premier, reaching 36.7 km/h), expeditious on the cut and not afraid to join the attack. In London he already did it, his long-distance strikes, with greater or lesser skill, were a trademark of the house. Qualities that draw a path into the minutes that he might not have expected when he signed his new contract. In his first Clásico he was solid, he had a hard time with Araújo and took the lead in a tangana that removed the friendly label from the confrontation. He did not clash on the left despite being right-handed, nor has he done so on the right when his coach has required his services in the ‘2’ lane.

Back to the past

In the Super Cup, he hardly had time to show his cards, but his entry in minute 85 by Carvajal is a declaration of intent by Ancelotti that left Lucas, the Leganense’s usual substitute, on the bench. He represents a return to the past for The German Rock. In his early days at Stuttgart, he appeared there sporadically and Luciano Spalleti used him relatively regularly in 2016-17 (eleven games) when he was still tanning at Roma. At Chelsea he was central, both when his participation was irregular (with Lampard) and when he became an indispensable backbone to winning the Champions League (with Tuchel).

Although his arrangement in the central three lines was left, with Christensen in the middle and Thiago Silva on the right. As a left-back, he has only appeared twice in his career in an official match, but his experience as a left-back shows that he is no stranger to defending, and projecting himself into attack when necessary, with a changed leg. Rüdiger appears as the replacement for everyone in defense, the next step for him is to earn the status of starter.

The congestion to which the white calendar has subjected this course will be an important support for the eleven applicants to win the approval of their coach. A season with more than 60 games and six, now five, titles at stake that appears with a packed World Cup between November and December. “This year yes, we are going to rotate a little more”, confessed Ancelotti after winning the Super Cup at a press conference. “Soon those who have not played today will. On Sunday I will refresh the team a bit, ”he anticipated in the flash interview moments before. Almería is the next touchstone. We will see in which demarcation he continues adding minutes with Madrid. Being valid for everything, the unknown grows.

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